With a high school diploma or GED it is possible to begin a career as an environmental landfill technician. These technicians monitor the levels of pollutants at wasted disposal sites and need to be trained in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Although not necessarily required for entry-level positions, an associate degree in engineering technology or environmental engineering could increase job prospects.
An environmental landfill technician monitors and manages the levels of hazardous materials that can threaten a local ecosystem. Technicians observe and measure the levels of combustible gas or other toxic pollutants in and around a waste disposal site in order to maintain compliance with local, state and federal regulations. Technicians use a variety of analytical equipment to monitor seepage and conduct tests on air, soil and water to prepare environmental reports. Frequently, an environmental landfill technician reports to a higher-ranking manager or supervisor. A high school diploma or GED is required for employment, but higher-level degrees can advance the career of a graduate.
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED|
|Other Requirements||Trained in EPA and OSHA regulations; proficiency in using monitoring and measuring equipment|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||7% increase (for hazardous materials removal workers)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$39,690 (for hazardous materials removal workers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Requirements for Environmental Landfill Technicians
In most situations, a high school diploma or GED is all that is required to be considered for employment as an environmental landfill technician. If an applicant chooses not to pursue any further education, they should have an aptitude for science and a keen interest in environmental issues. Some employers might require a potential employee to have experience working with the requisite tools, postgraduate engineering education and knowledge of government regulations.
Associate degree programs in engineering technology or environmental engineering could improve an applicant's opportunity for employment. These programs arm graduates with specific technical knowledge and skills in sample and data collection, monitoring techniques and the use of pollutant measurement equipment. Some curricula also cover topics on nuclear facilities, power plants and electronics. Those interested in advanced studies can earn bachelor's or master's degrees in environmental science, climatology or geological sciences.
Having at least a year of on-the-job training can make an environmental landfill technician candidate more attractive to potential employers. Applicants should be comfortable using specialized monitoring and measuring equipment, such as gas analyzers, or know how to take accurate meter readings. Companies might require technicians to be well versed in Environmental Protection Agency or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Other necessary abilities might include blueprint reading, surveying skills and computer proficiency.
An environmental landfill technician's job involves long hours working outdoors. Because there is a chance of encountering toxic materials, the work environment is highly structured, requiring attention to detail. Most technicians only test and report on gas extraction or other monitored landfill systems; however, those that are expected to handle hazardous materials must complete a federally regulated training program offered through OSHA.
Salary and Job Outlook
Jobs for hazardous waste removal workers, including landfill technicians, are expected to increase by 7% over the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for these workers was $39,690.
Environmental landfill technicians are responsible for monitoring toxic pollutants in a landfill and ensuring that the levels of hazardous materials don't threaten the local environment. They conduct tests on air, soil and water and prepare reports. No formal postsecondary training is required, but an associate or bachelor's degree can lead to more employment opportunities.